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Average magazine circulation falls 4 per cent in the last half of 2015

The average circulation of magazine circulation was down 4 per cent year on year in the last six months of 2015.

The latest ABC audit for July-December 2015 saw mixed results for men’s lifestyle publications. Men’s Fitness magazine was the worst hit with combined sales of print and digital down 18 per cent over the period and 32.3 per cent over the year, marking the greatest decline in sales across the market by far.

Men’s Health managed to improve towards the end of the year with a 0.4 per cent increase however it was not enough to offset its yearly decline of 2.7 per cent.

The only other men’s magazine to see its circulation slide was GQ which suffered a 0.9 per cent decline in the period and a 4.1 per cent decline for the year.

Unsurprisingly, freebie Shortlist maintained its position as the most popular men's lifestyle mag, with a modest 0.7 per cent boost in circulation over the period. Sport, which is the second best-performing mag in this market and also a free title, was up 0.2 per cent in the period.

The majority of women’s weekly titles recorded moderate declines in circulation during the period with Bauer's Heat hit hardest after sustaining an 11.8 per cent slide.

Northen & Shell’s OK! magazine upped its sales by 38 per cent in the period however the weekly magazine was down 5.7 per cent overall for the year. The greatest yearly declines were sustained by Heat which dropped by 20.3 per cent, Reveal with a 23.6 per cent decline, Star with a 22.2 per cent drop and Now which saw its circulation fall by 22 per cent.

The Woman’s lifestyle front fared better with Hearst-owned title Cosmopolitan experiencing a huge 58 per cent jump for the period and a 57.3 per cent increase for the year. With sales at more than 405,000, the title is now the fourth most-popular women's lifestyle magazine, up from 10th place the previous period to narrow the gap on Good Housekeeping (409,700).

Hearst chief executive, Anna Jones, said: “We are delighted to see that the new marketing and distribution strategy for Cosmopolitan is working.

Jones attributed some of the success to its partnership with Snapchat Discover which she said has made it possible to “reach more women than ever before.”

She added: “Seeing growth from many of our key brands is hugely encouraging, especially as we continue to grow digitally, and through branded products and live events. Good Housekeeping has maintained its market leading position, ELLE once again delivers a growing audience of fashion-hungry consumers, Esquire posts an increased circulation and Women’s Health continues its upward trajectory.”